Date Archives November 2012

The Disappearing Experience

The Disappearing Experience

On my way home last night I was thinking about the current idea of user experience and the way I design. When I design I fall into the less is more category. A good example is the video player I designed for the new earlier this year. I took an audit of the big video players out there – Vimeo, YouTube, Hulu – and started disecting from there. I weighed the pros and cons of each. Pixel by pixel I figured out the design decisions that were made, the what and the why. And then I took all of that knowledge and made something of my own.

I wanted to keep the options lean, so there are very few objects to interact with. You’ve got a play/pause button, a mute button, a full screen function, and a scrubber with the current and total times. The play button is large and set to the left, as most of the imagery in video previews tend to be placed in the center. This way we won’t cover Dory’s adorable fish face. There’s only a mute button, no volume controls. Most people control their volume with the keyboard anyhow. Full screen and a scrubber are pretty obvious. When you hover away from the scrubber you get a tiny, thin strip of play progress and that’s it. No more, no less.

The way I see it, interfaces are going to disappear. Look at a video game like Skyrim where almost 95% of the UI simply disappears. Look at an app like Clear which uses nothing but gestures to allow you to make lists. Even blue sky thinking like Google Glass has the right idea. The thought that we’re going to be trapped on a two dimensional screen is extremely short sighted. In the near future we’ll have the ability to control objects, environments and devices with our voice, our gestures and even our very presence. I imagine that our children will think it’s funny that we used to click on analog keyboards to express ourselves.

So while I continue to analyze my own design style, I try to keep an eye toward the future. I consciously keep my information well organized. I keep my type clean and easy to read. I think of both the young and the old. And I try to embrace changes when they come. Hopefully this will keep me on my toes for what the future holds.

I Love Camo

Amazing Camouflage Products

The idea of camouflage can be traced back to the notes of Charles Darwin who recognized the patterns of animals and insects served as a survival mechanism.

When we see leaf-eating insects green, and bark-feeders mottled-grey; the alpine ptarmigan white in winter, the red-grouse the colour of heather, and the black-grouse that of peaty earth, we must believe that these tints are of service to these birds and insects in preserving them from danger.

My first passionate encounter came in the form of a pair of camo trainers that were made by XLarge. I think I purchased them in 2002 in a strip mall in Downtown Sacramento. They still sit in a box underneath my bed and they’re one of my prized possessions. But before that I had no affinity to camo. If anything I had grown an aversion thanks to years of high school classmates in baggy camo cargo pants. Over time though I’ve certainly grown quite an affection for camo, which was certainly fueled by Hardy Blechman’s immense compendium DPM: Disruptive Pattern Material. In it he covers not only the history and variety of camouflage patterns but also their occurrences in pop culture. It’s the holy grail of camo.

So I thought I’d put together a collection of camo objects that I’ve been gathering over the last few weeks. Hopefully you find some that you like. Just remember to dress sparingly with your camo. Too much camo and you might end up looking like a crazy war vet.

A.P.C. Camouflage Chinos
Jack Spade Swedish M90 Cordura Dipped Coal Bag
Camouflage Word Notebooks
Camo Nike Air Force 1’s
London Undercover City Gent British Woodland Camouflage Umbrella

Beautiful stationery and wrapping by Esme Winter

I love the work of Esme Winter. The British designer produces wonderful stationery and great paper products. Started in 2011, her collection now includes wrapping paper, note cards and notebooks – there’s even plans for a textile range in the near future!

I really like her simple understated designs. The patterns and colors are just perfect and it’s great that the wrapping-paper and cards can really be used to celebrate any occasion. You can see more of her work online here.

‘Take This Up’ by Star Slinger


In the UK, Darren Williams isn’t just a producer, a music student, or just a scruffy Mancunian. Also known as Star Slinger, his brand of UK bass/house/future garage has set the model for dance music this year. Toss in the Jet Jam party scene (an audio/visual expansion of this club party) with his fresh exciting remixes and you get some of the best party music for today’s youth.

Take This Up was the precursor for the Jet Jam parties that popped up during his current U.S. tour. I went to the one at the Echo and it was a gully-as-hell trap party with these 2-step vibes. Take This Up is no different, as the sample gets squashed to hell, restarted at an almost manic pace and chopped to pieces into a speedy, seizure-dancing beat. Not as bass-heavy as most other tracks, it’s a hip hop dance floor banger for 2013.

‘The Phone’, An Animated Race For Coolness by The Julien Brothers

'The Phone', An Animated Race For Coolness by The Julien Brothers

'The Phone', An Animated Race For Coolness by The Julien Brothers

Our culture has started down a path of continuous development cycles. New products appear which are then replaced by something sleeker and faster the following year. Some people go to great lengths to get a new, cool device, like wait overnight outside of a store in the pouring rain. The video above by The Jullien Brothers illustrates this very phenomenon in a hysterical way, a literal race to get the “Z Phone”. Imagine a modern day episode of Wacky Races illustrated in Jean Jullien’s beautiful art style accompanied by beats from his brother Niwouinwouin.

Light Bending Illustrations by Yau Hoong Tang

Yau Hoong Tang

Yau Hoong Tang

Yau Hoong Tang

Yau Hoong Tang

Yau Hoong Tang is a Kuala Lumpur based illustrator and designer who’s work is totally mind-bending. What you see above are a series of illustrations he did where he bends light in the most interesting of ways. It’s pretty awesome how he was able to come up with so many different variations on such a simple idea. I think my favorites are the UFO light lifting objects off the table and the rainbows going back and forth forever. This is just a small sample of his work, and I’d recommend browsing through his Flickr as well.

A Video Tour of Beam & Anchor from Shwood’s MAKERS Series

Beam and Anchor, Portland

Beam and Anchor, Portland

Beam and Anchor, Portland

While I was in Portland I had no less than five peple telling me “You have to go to Beam & Anchor.” With such an overwhelming response I knew I had to go, so I grabbed furniture maker and old friend Eric Trine and he took me on an incredible tour of the place. Essentially Beam & Anchor is a two story building with two purposes: Make stuff on the top floor, sell stuff on the bottom floor. The showroom of the bottom floor is fantastic, filled with more handmade goods than you can imagine. Wallets, chairs, pottery, stationary, you name it they have it. It’s like being a kid in a candy shop.

The top floor is a dedicated workspace inhabited by folks making furniture, upholstering, sopa making, painting and creating leather goods. I had a chance to meet Matt from Wood & Faulk who’s not only a very nice guy but an extremely talented maker. I’d known Matt’s work beforehand so it was great to poke around his studio and see some of the behind-the-scenes magic.

Funny enough wooden eyewear manufacturers Shwood, who are also based in Portland, released a new video in their MAKERS series featuring Beam & Anchor. I think they did a great job of nailing the vibe of the space and giving a sense of just how much passion there is inside Beam & Anchor.

‘Dials’ by Night Flowers

Beginnings is the aptly titled debut EP from British shoe-gazers Night Flowers. Released back in March, the EP is made up of four early demos from the band. It’s a promising debut and a great listens for fans of dream-pop and shoegazing.

Their track Dials is a really nice listen and I love the sweet backing vocals provided by Hester Ullyart. Beginnings is available to download free of charge from the band’s Bandcamp here.